Misfiled Marijuana

Pot reclassification


In a policy statement published in January, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reiterated its opposition to marijuana legalization. But it also endorsed the decriminalization of possession and called for the drug's reclassification under the Controlled Substances Act.

Marijuana currently is classified as a Schedule I substance, which cannot be legally used for any purpose. The AAP says that classification makes medical research difficult: "The AAP strongly supports research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and supports a review of policies promoting research on the medical use of these compounds. The AAP recommends changing marijuana from a Drug Enforcement Administration schedule I to a schedule II drug to facilitate this research."

That change, which could be carried out by Congress or by the executive branch, would move marijuana out of a category supposedly reserved for drugs with a "high potential for abuse" that have "no currently accepted medical use" and are so dangerous that they cannot be used safely even under a doctor's supervision. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD. Schedule II, the new category suggested by the AAP, includes prescription drugs such as morphine, oxycodone, cocaine, and methamphetamine, which are viewed as having high abuse potential but legitimate medical uses.

The AAP joins the American College of Physicians in urging a review of marijuana's legal status.